"It was a tall task, no doubt. But there's no excuses to make, you just do your very best and I'm grateful for the opportunity," Sanchez said. "I was praying for an opportunity and I thank God for the opportunity, you just never want it under these circumstances. So with respect to [Redskins QBs] Alex [Smith] and Colt [McCoy], I have to do my very best to play well, help rally this team and figure out a way to win. That's the ultimate form of respect, I think, for those guys because your heart definitely breaks for them. They're great competitors and great people. So you never want it under those circumstances, like I said, but you go out and you do your very best."
Sanchez signed with Washington two weeks ago after Alex Smith's injury. Coach Jay Gruden admitted the veteran signal-caller didn't have many plays at his disposal Monday night.
"Well, we had more plays in our first preseason game with our third or fourth quarterback to be honest with you," Gruden said. "We didn't have many plays. I mean, we tried to get as many ready. We had a wristband numbered for [QB Mark Sanchez]. We tried to get him comfortable, you know. He actually did a pretty good job there for a while. He had a nice two-minute drive at the end of the half, made some good plays, and we just obviously sputtered. But you know it was tough, it was tough."
Sanchez threw his first passes in nearly two years. It showed.
The 32-year-old quarterback looked skittish at the start. While he can string together a few good passes here and there, the mistakes always linger around the corner with Sanchez.
After becoming a New York Jets first-round pick in 2009 and helping Gang Green get to a couple of AFC Championship games early in his career, Sanchez has mostly caddied the past half-dozen years. He has made just 10 starts since 2013 -- eight of those coming in Philly in 2014.
Alas, Sanchez is the man moving forward for a Washington team that has been destroyed by injury and likely watched its playoff hopes float down the river.
"Well listen, I've seen just about everything in this league except for, I don't know, a Super Bowl game," Sanchez said when asked about his mindset moving forward as the starter. "With this group and these coaches, we'll be able to handle anything. We're going to do our best.
"Listen, you can't think on Tuesday, 'Oh, man, we have to beat the Giants.' Well we have to get this film out of the way, we have to get our bodies right and we have to get into some Giants film. You're not going to win the game yet. So just compartmentalize it, take it step-by-step, don't get ahead of yourself, don't bite off more than you can really chew, eliminate distractions and go out and have fun playing. This is, like I said -- I was home with my son who just turned two, he better be in bed -- I was just praying for this opportunity. So we'll go out and make the most of it."